The HOMES program: industry and researchers together to improve the energy efficiency of buildings

entrepreneurship, innovation, solutions, energetic fluxes, OséoLaunched in 2008, the HOMES program (Housing and building Optimized for Mastering Energy & Services) aims at conceiving energy saving solutions for buildings. Financed by Oséo, a French public institution supporting entrepreneurship and innovation, the scheme is directed by Schneider Electric in partnership with 12 other actors from the industrial or scientific sector. Watch out the progress of that ambitious organization.

An experimental program
Gathering 120 researchers on a four year period (2008-2012), the HOMES program relies on an experimental method around 5 key locations in France, chosen to be used as laboratories:
·         The primary school of Montbonnot, Isère
·         Public offices of Savoie Technolac, Savoie
·         A 3 stars hotel in Nice, Alpes-Maritimes
·         An one star hotel in Carcassonne, Aude
·         A collective residential building in Vaux-Sur-Seine, Yvelines

Those buildings have been chosen to be representative of European housing stock. By simulating a “normal” activity in those spaces, researchers estimate in the first place the energy consumption, and then determine the different energy saving possibilities.

Concrete progress
In September 2010, after two years of experimentation, HOMES communicated its first results and prototypes during the Intelligent Building Systems exhibition in Paris. The multiple application zone controller notably marked one’s mind. It gathers all technologies until now separated and therefore less effective (the Schneider Electric “Roombox” for instance or the CIAT HVAC emission controller) ; allowing to supply, protect and control house lighting, shutters, blinds and the HVAC (heating, ventilation and air-conditioning).

Final results of those experimentations published in November 2011 are very promising, going as far as a being reduced by 56% for the primary school energy consumption. Public offices save 36%. The two hotels would save 37% for the Nice one and 30% for the one being in Carcassonne. Finally, the residential building would reduce its energy consumption by 22%. Based on the integration of the most effective electrical materials for energy efficiency, the scheme made possible a concrete measure of benefits combined with all the solutions which are about to be commercialized.

Nevertheless, according to Olivier Cottet, Marketing Director at Schneider Electric, it is necessary to make those living in these buildings aware of their energy behaviors for this initiative to be fully efficient. The various solutions will reach their full potential only by a reasonable (and programmed) use of the different energetic fluxes.

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